From Monday 19 August untill Friday 24th we've been with 900 social, political and religious leaders from 125 different countries in Lindau, Germany at the World Assembly of Religions for Peace, co-sponsored by the German Federal Government and opened by its President Frank Walter Steinmeier.
We've had this rich exchange during the Youth Pre-assembly on Monday with youth representatives from all over the world where we've discussed the most important issues of our time such as: peace education, sustainable development, conflict transformation, etc. All with this vision of having a common and shared future.
The mission we had during this congress was the promotion of the International Day of Living Together in Peace and it's key project: the education of the culture of Peace: tell about it and exchange about it with experts.
I've been honoured to meet and speak with people from the following countries which I am able to recall : Zanzibar - Tanzania, Kongo, Central African Republic, South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria, Tunisia, Egypt, the Kuwait, Yemen, Lebanon, Iran, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Syria, South Korea and North Korea, Pakistan and India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Malaysia, China, Australia, USA, Canada, Austria, Belgium, France, Spain, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Morocco, Bosnia Herzegovina, United Kingdom, Kenya, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, and Iraq.
All of them where responsibles for different communities, Academics, Religious Leaders, Public Servants, activists, ngo's, UN agencies, consultants, politicians and or any combination of them.
All the encounters were important for me. First of all I've learned a lot. Secondly because this project we're working on of the House of Peace and the International Day of Living Together in Peace served as a useful link in the chain of building a culture of Peace globally and possibly helping to resolve problematic issues in different communities locally and regionally.
What touched me a lot was the meeting with some tremendously strong women from Zanzibar who told me about the sexual abuse inside communities and families. Where many mothers can't even trust their sons or husband with their youngest children. Many times it is a self-repeating problem from generation to generation. This issue is breaking communities in their most crucial part: family and childhood.
Other striking meetings were with the wise Bhai Sahib Mohinder Sing, the spiritual leader of the Sikh Community in Birmingham and the convener of the Charter for Forgiveness. We've sat for two hours together and I've learned a lot from him.
I've made unexpectedly friends with the very reserved and shy North Korean delegation. They came together with a South Korean Christian and were very humbled by and proud of the reconciliation process between their respective countries.
We've had a good talk about it. When they asked me how the world looks at them I told them that the whole world is praying for their peace and is happy with its progress as if two of your brothers are making peace again.
I've been invited to participate in a workshop on peace education with different experts. The granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, representatives of the university of Tubbingen, the Berghof Foundation, the University of Montreal, the German Muslim Scout Movement, the World Ethics Organization and different academics from South America, North Africa, Finland and Europe under the guidance of the education expert Prof. Dr. Laehneman.
Three youth representatives from Central African Republic of different faiths have had a meeting with us about the International Day of Living Together in Peace and how it can be useful in their reconciliation process. Knowing that not so long ago there was a devastating Civil War between the different communities in their respective country.
An interesting talk we also had was with an open minded and brave women from Bosnia. We've talked about woman emancipation and the feminine in general as the key to reconciliation and peace in the Balkanic country for the second time on the edge of a civil war. 'it is women who are going to make peace between India and Pakistan, Israel and Palestine and Former Yugoslavia...'
We've participated in the United Nations documentary made with the Rainforest Initiative on the importance and urgence of protecting the rainforests.
These and many more important and hopefully fruitful meetings have took place.
I thank Mirjam Ates-Snijdewind, president of RfP Netherlands for her encouragements to participate.